Hi, Explorers!

I am now in a different kind of mood greeting you all! Well, at least a better mood than the last few months. I believe all of you do feel the same, too! As of this week, people in Jakarta is officially back to the office to work. Some companies do arrange their staffs to come in shifts or back to the office in batches while some companies still allow their staffs to work from home.

I also heard that Pulau Seribu in Jakarta is opening up this week – however, the people are not ready to welcome visitor yet. If nothing changes, Bali is opening soon next month, and a few other places that I heard of have opened to welcoming visitors. Let’s hope that other places will follow gradually when the places and also the people are ready. And oh, all shopping mall in Jakarta is allowed to open already starting from today!

I wish that I could immediately pack up and go off somewhere and ask as many as possible of you to join me. However, besides not all country borders open yet, regardless of the urges, we should prepare ourselves for the new regulations or protocols in travelling as well – which I am following the possibly updates that have been released especially in Indonesia. I will share when everything is clear so no confusions will happen. So please, don’t confuse and let yourself in worries with some irresponsible news from unclear sources that spread like wildfire.

In here, I also personally would like to thanks to those who have initiated to support and made some contributions to one of the guides that I have been working together for years. It will certainly be really helpful for him and his family to sustain during a time like this. To me, knowing this is more than enough to keep me stay motivated during this non-travelling period. Haha.. I am delighted. :)

Another thing is, I decided to let go of Meetup Groups – Indonesia Explorers (Eazycation) and also Jakarta International Explorers (JIE) that I had maintained since 2013. The reason is that I have not been seeing any more activities, be it visit or RSVP, on the group for almost the last two years. We all started with Meetup but I think it is really the time to let go already. So, to continue keeping in touch with us, other members, and receive updates from us, I encourage you to join our Facebook Group. It is a private group, please just request to join and I will approve it manually. And to be clear, this is not the end yet. Haha..we just moved our communication onto Facebook. ;)

Well, nevertheless, I am excited! How about you? Let’s maintain the excitement until we all can meet and travel again, shall we?

Stay safe, stay healthy and keep in touch!

Just checking out how have you all been? It is already almost three months now and I can say this is the longest ever for me to stay at home. Some of you have asked me how I can survive so long without going to the mountain and the sea. Haha..well. Life still goes on. In fact, I quite enjoy the “pause” time. It is not the travelling that I miss, but it is the people that I miss. I miss meeting people! I believe the majority of us feel the same, don’t we?

Anyway, recently I just found out about this documentary show on Netflix, recommended by one friend. The title is “Jago: A Life Underwater”, an award-winning documentary about Rohani, an 80-year-old hunter who dives on a single breath descending to great depths for several minutes. It was set in Togian Islands of Indonesia. Probably, this is a documentary show with the most beautiful visual I have ever seen so far. Do check it out if you have not! At least, it could ease our craving of being in the ocean for now. To watch the trailer, click here.

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Then, there is one short film, about 12 mins long which you can watch on Youtube. The title is “One Breath Around the World”. It shows the underwater world from a few countries. The audiovisual is breathtaking. Click here to watch the full video.

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I think that is it for now. I am trying to look for some documentary show with similar visual but related to the mountain. I haven’t found any. If you have any shows related to nature that you think is worth to watch, do let me know! I mean, rather than watch too much energy-draining news, I think, spend some times to watch this kind of show is not a bad idea, too.

Stay safe, stay home, Explorers!

Until next time! :)

• • •

P.S: I tell stories, too! You may read my recent article by clicking the thumbnail below. :)

eazycation

Who would expect that we are taking a break longer than we ever thought of?

It is a difficult time for most of the people in any part of the world – regardless of the industry. Not all but most of them got hit badly especially in tourism. I heard that many people lost their jobs – it is a sad truth. With the current situation, many companies and business owners try hard to survive. However, not few that have to dismiss their staffs either for temporary or until further notice.

I hope all of you are doing well.

Both in Singapore and Indonesia and other affected countries have been implementing tighter measures in order to contain the spread. All I hope is all of us to follow and remind each other to hold firm of the protocol.

No one knows when will this invisible enemy be gone. However, what we know is we pull up ourselves together in this, we can help to reduce the numbers. I think this is the only number that no one hopes to see it increases.

Let’s do our part to support those standing in the frontline by staying in and only go out for the necessities. Don’t make this is an option but a must.

Nevertheless, I thank those who have been checking on me for the last few weeks. :) It is a tough time but I am thankful that so far I am still in good health. Hope to see you all again soon in real – not via Zoom! :D

Stay healthy, productive and positive, Explorers!

Until next time! :)

P.S: I am still reachable as usual via Whatsapp or email! Keep in touch! ;)

Or a betterment from last year?

Anyway, whatever it is, I would like to wish everyone a super great year ahead, healthy, happy, and not to forget, more exploring, too! :)

Last November, we went to Komodo National Park. 12 of us in the group. Although it was supposed to be rainy season already, however, we didn’t really experience raining days. The grasses and the hills were all still dry and brown. The raining season came late. Not only in the Komodo Islands but also in other parts of Indonesia.

Nevertheless, we all saw the Komodo Dragons! We also saw Cuttlefish, Octopus, Manta Ray, and other interesting fish and marine creatures when we snorkelled. Personally, I am glad that we did this trip together last year.

After the Komodo Islands, six of us from the group continued to Ende for our Flores Overland Trip. We made it to Mt. Kelimutu, Riung National Park, as well as trekking up to the Waerebo Village. The weather was kind to us throughout the trip although it was a long journey on some of the days and the road condition was challenging. However, I believe, all was paid-off.

After Christmas, New Year, here come the Lunar New Year! There is one unusual trip that I organize for this very occasion – 4D3N Cap Go Meh Festival-The Supernatural Tatung Parade in Singkawang, IndonesiaIt might be the most bizarre Cap Go Meh we would have ever experienced. I think.

Then, we will also try to go to Banda Naira, Central of Maluku, in May. The journey can be quite challenging – comparable to going Taka Bonerate. The nearest airport is Ambon and from Ambon, we will be continuing by taking a fast boat (4-6 hours) or ferry ship (overnight in the cabin) to across to Banda Naira.

Now the question is: are you in?

To more exciting journeys ahead! :)

As many news going around about the closure of Komodo National Park in 2020 until further notice which later on it was reconfirmed that only the main Komodo Island itself that will be closed while other islands remain open. While some people think that what is the point of going to Komodo Islands without stepping on the main island itself? Well, we will still get to see the Komodo Dragon on Rinca Island, just that probably, yes, it won’t be that satisfying for not seeing them on the island which is named after the largest lizard itself.

So, Eazy decided to make a trip to Komodo Islands this coming November (before the main island closes as per rumour). Besides that, I guess it is time to revisit this place. The last time we visited Komodo Islands was about 4 years ago. Although, I did visit there early of this year and I think that Labuan Bajo has changed quite a lot. However, the beauty of the Komodo National Park – the scenic view, the underwater, and the people, remains the same.

Again, will Komodo National Park close anytime soon?

As I am writing this, the latest update which just freshly in is that the plan has been called off. But, until everything is officially announced, it is still considered a rumour. Anyway, regardless of the final decision they will make, we will still go there. 3D2N Komodo Islands Live on Board trip, followed by 6D5N Flores Overland where we will be visiting Mt. Kelimutu, Riung Islands Marine Park, as well as the Wae Rebo Village. If these places have been long staying in your bucket list, don’t delay any longer. It is time to check these places out from the list. Join us this November.

See you soon!

That night, our group of 7, divided into two groups. Five of us camped at Alun-Alun Surya Kencana while the other two camped on the summit of Mount Gede with a rented tent from a kiosk that selling hot drink and meals near there. They were too exhausted to continue to Alun-Alun Surya Kencana which was still about an hour trek down to the valley.

The temperature that night was unexpectedly cold as well. I didn’t check. I was told the next morning that that night the temperature dropped to 5ºC. I usually can stand cold but I was freezing. We prepared for the cold but not to that degree. We wore layers and put on everything we had to keep us warm. One of us even said they he noticed the dew on our tent was frozen.

A few days ago, I read from the news that the temperature around Mount Bromo and Semeru also unusually dropped, snowflakes were seen at some of the areas. It seems that global warming, climate change have affected our living significantly.

eazycation-pulau seribu

Meanwhile, earlier this month, our group of 4 went to Seribu Island in Jakarta to explore and practice our snorkelling and freediving skill. The weather was pleasant and the water visibility was much better than I have ever encountered before so far in Seribu. We went to a few new spots and we saw big corals and abundance of reef fish and some other type of fish.

In term of marine life, compared to other places in Indonesia, Seribu may not be able to live to that standard. However, considering the location that is so near to Jakarta with multiple flights available daily, I would say, it is not that bad at all. Although I can’t deny that I spotted many broken corals that may be caused by the bad practice of human activities as well as the impact of climate change.

Since August 2018, I have started encouraging participants to bring their own water bottle and I no longer provide bottled mineral water during the trip. Instead, I prepare a water gallon to refill our own water bottle. This is one of the ways that I could think of as to reduce plastic wastes that has become one of the biggest pollutions to our environment – be it on the land or underwater.

We are living in a beautiful world but how long the beauty will last if all keep degrading this way?

If you have any thoughts regarding the trips or anything that you think is useful and you want to share with Eazy community, please feel free to let me know. :)

How many of us still think that snorkelling is the same as swimming?
Okay, probably it does involve swimming skill to snorkel but still, both are two different things.

With the earth which 70% covered up by the water, plus, one of the main activities from most of the trips organized by Eazy is related to appreciating marine life, I see there is a need to organize one trip that is specifically just to learn, practice, enhance our snorkelling skills. So, we will get a better snorkelling experience and also avoid hurting marine life.

To date, human activity in the ocean is one of the factors that damaging the corals the most while we may know that coral reefs are the habitat and also the food source for many marine animals. Only less than 10% of the coral reefs in Indonesia is still in very good condition while more than 30% is in very bad shape. No reefs, no fish. If this keeps on going, all will be gone sooner or later and we will not get to enjoy the underwater world anymore.

eazycation-snorkelling is not swimming

It was 5 years ago since I knew about snorkelling and it was only about 2.5 years ago I am getting more understand about snorkelling and appreciating the underwater world. How I wish I knew all this earlier if I recall how much damages to marine life that I, myself, might have done in the first few years.

Often times, I saw people who kicking in the water without seeing where their feet or fins go which not seldom hitting the corals below them and also standing and touching the corals purposely – No, the corals are not rocks for you to rest or stand to take photos! If you don’t think you can handle yourself in the water, snorkel with your life jacket on, it is okay. If you are not comfortable wearing it, hold on it is okay, too! After some times, we will understand that actually, we don’t need to do much kicking when we snorkel. A very slow and smooth kick is more than enough to let us float and flow while enjoying the marine life on the surface. Fewer kicking, fewer splashes, visibility is better, too.

Hence, if you have never done snorkelling before and you have been wanting to try (Everything has to start somewhere) or you think you still need some practices to improve yourself in the water or even just want to snorkel in Seribu Islands, do consider to join us on the weekend trip (no leaves required) to Seribu Island on June 14-16, 2019.

As the main purpose is to learn and practice, we will have more snorkelling session than our usual weekend Seribu Island trip. Plus, we will also have an open sharing night where we can learn from each other’s :) It will be a relaxing trip staying in a homestay on one of the islands in Seribu. 

What do you think? Let me know. :)

See you around soon!

P.S: If you would like to know how the coral planting process is, do head on to this article – Coral Planting in Seribu

I am not sure how many of you noticed that the domestic airfares have experienced some adjustment since the beginning of this year, unfortunately, a little higher than before. I won’t sugar-coat what I am about to say. As a planner and the organizer myself, I feel the hit. I was frustrated – calculating the costs and finding the best route and ways to get you to the destination with the minimum cost. However, I still find the cost sometimes is ridiculous. I almost gave up.

I had a conversation with a few local operators and guides that they do also get the same hit. Even I heard that some hotels are reducing their prices to make up the guests for the airfares they pay for.

I admit it. To travel and to explore Indonesia, especially to not so well-developed yet areas, the price we have to pay is more than enough to send us to travel to other countries that offer much better facilities. It is not seldom I heard people commented, “Why spend so much just to travel to Indonesia? Might as well we go to country A or B (and so on)”

Yes, the choice is yours.

Just that on the side note, we have to also remember that Indonesia, although, it may still be considered as the third world country by some people,  so left behind in everything, lack of maintenance in many ways, corrupted people, maybe? But, it is still a country that offers some experiences and values that worth every cents and effort of ours for coming here.

Every country is unique in its own way. A comparison is not necessary.

I am curious how everything is going to turn out with all the changes from the private sectors and the government. Nevertheless, I only hope I will still see you somewhere in Indonesia, sometimes this year. :)  

Until then.

Well, it may still be far from the standard of what people think about luxury in common. But, tell ya, it is still a luxury. Especially in the Komodo Islands, Indonesia.

I remember our first trip to the Komodo Islands was in 2014. There are not many choices of sailing boat to choose from at the time yet. We did get one boat and we did live on board but we all prefer to sleep on the upper deck under the millions of stars for that night than in the so-called our cabin room. Even though we got only very basic and limited facilities, we still had fun though. :)

After several years, more boats are being made available – including the Phinisi boats that were built in the boatbuilder village in Tanaberu, Sulawesi. Now it is right there in Komodo Islands. If in earlier days, we were worried about the comfort and convenience in bringing our family to enjoy Komodo Islands, now, I can assure you that you can leave all those worries at home and hop in with your family and friends to enjoy the beautiful islands at ease.

Anyway, I schedule one trip to Komodo Islands with a Phinisi boat, Cajoma V, which will bring us around to explore Komodo Islands for three days two nights on October 27-30, 2019. To get a more comfortable price for each pax, we have to get a minimum of 15 pax. However, if we don’t reach that number, we can always proceed with a cost adjustment or change to a smaller boat with similar facilities. Let’s see. :) More details about the trip, please click on the button below.

Early bird discount applied for those who sign up before end of March 2019!

We are still in the first month of the year. It is still not too late. I think. :p

Last month – December 2018, we had more adventures than in other months. We went hiking at Mount Papandayan in Garut in the early of the month and then to Bunaken and Lembeh during Christmas weekend. Lastly, we spent our new year together in Sorong City at West Papua right after our trip to Raja Ampat.

I am glad that everyone enjoyed the trip. Personally, I felt happy that there were a few first-timer to hiking and snorkelling who joined us. It always great to know that more and more people interested in going outdoors. There is one sort of happiness to see people come together to enjoy nature.

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There was one member asked me how long more I will be organizing trips like this? I said,“Maybe one year more or two years more.” But in my heart, I know I will want to do this as long as I can although I might not be the one to lead anymore.

If you have not already known, since the first outing until now, it’s been 5 years. On the side note, whenever you join the trip I organize, you are not only supporting me but also supporting the locals at the destination we are heading to, too. And I am really thankful for that. :)

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To bring more people to get to know Indonesia and to remind people to take a break are always be my aims. Everyone works hard and everyone deserves to have a break. Although it doesn’t mean that you always have to join my trip but just remember to take a break no matter how busy you are.

In this 2019, I don’t hope much. I just wish that all of you always stay happy, healthy and never stopped being active. Love the nature as much as we love the people.

Until next time!

Cheers,
Tracy